Sex & Romance
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can a relationship be healthy without sex? my friend thinks so

A friend of mine confided in me that she and her husband almost never have sex because she's always hated sex. I was totally blindsided by this admission and I had absolutely no idea what to say. She said they've had sex 3 times in 2010.

We're not super-close friends, but I think I may be her closest female friend here- she and her husband are German and have been in the US just 3 years. They're both 30-ish and have been married 4 years.

She lived with other boyfriends before, and said she felt the same way- that she never enjoys sex and that she actually feels like she's being raped. She said there's "no reason for it" and that she's "been to tons of therapists" and it hasn't helped. She also says that she is lucky that her husband has such a low sex drive that he doesn't mind that they almost never have sex.

Can a relationship really be healthy with no sex? She seems to think that hers is. I'm sure that this problem is far more complicated than I'll ever understand, and there's no right thing that I could possibly say to fix it. But if she brings it up again, what do I say? I know people on here will generally say that unhealthy sex life = unhealthy marriage, but... it is my place to assume her marriage is unhealthy and point that out to her? I feel like she's telling me this because she needs to tell someone to talk to about it, but I'm not sure what to say...

Re: can a relationship be healthy without sex? my friend thinks so

  • I think a relationship can be perfectly healthy without sex.  Sex isn't what makes or breaks a relationship.  There are a lot of married couples out there who I am sure cannot have sex for one reason or another, and it doesn't mean their relationship isn't happy and healthy.  I think it's kind of ignorant to think "unhealthy sex life = unhealthy marriage" because who is to say what an 'unhealthy sex life' is?  If her husband has a low sex drive, and she doesn't really like sex, then it seems like they are a good pair. 

    My husband had a surgery a few years ago and we couldn't have sex for almost 6 months because of his recovery and if anything, I think it improved our relationship because we really connected in different ways.

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  • If both people are happy with the arrangement, sure.

    "I know people on here will generally say that unhealthy sex life = unhealthy marriage"

    I wouldn't classify her relationship as having an "unhealthy sex life". Frequency of sex is so subjective. If they are both getting what they need out of their sex life, then it's not unhealthy.

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  • image annabelle.27:

    I wouldn't classify her relationship as having an "unhealthy sex life". Frequency of sex is so subjective. If they are both getting what they need out of their sex life, then it's not unhealthy.

    Exactly what I was trying to say.

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  • Not being able to have sex because of surgery is a totally different situation- that doesn't compare to this at all. What she was saying was that she has always hated sex, to the point that she dreads the day when they are ready for a family and she has to do it.

    I know there are couples out there where, to both parties, sex three times a year is totally fine. I guess what I was more concerned about is that she's taking for granted that her husband is 'totally fine' with the arrangement, and maybe he's not.

    It's just sort of especially sad that she hates every form of sexual contact, and they aren't able to connect in that way. When I think of how happy it makes my husband when he pleases me, it makes me sad to think that when her husband wants to have sex, it's in the back of his head that she's hating every minute of it.

     but, maybe I'm totally wrong and they are both fine with it.

  • What is unhealthy about their relationship is that she feels like she is being raped whenever she has sex.  But if she isn't willing to really work with a therapist to get to the bottom of it all, nothing will change.

    If both partners are satisfied with the level of sexual activity however much or little, then the sexual relationship is healthy. 

  • image DaringMiss:

    What is unhealthy about their relationship is that she feels like she is being raped whenever she has sex.  But if she isn't willing to really work with a therapist to get to the bottom of it all, nothing will change.

    This statement also stuck with me. She has either an emotional or physical problem (maybe both) and IMO should see a doctor.

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  • I have a friend who has been married for 2 years and is still a virgin. :o She has vaginismus

     Vaginismus is considered a disorder of sexual dysfunction. It has several possible causes, including past sexual trauma or abuse, psychological factors, or a history of discomfort with sexual intercourse. Sometimes no cause can be found.

     They are very happy together, but you should ask your friend if this could be whats going on.  

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  • There are many couples that don't have sex. They're perfectly fine with it and if that's fine for them, it's fine for them.

    The main thing: you both have to be on the same page regarding sex, the same as you have to be on the same page with other major aspects: finances and so forth.

    Felt like she was being raped? Maybe she was brought up to believe sex was dirty or she simply has no idea of what the "normal" mechanics of sex are. Maybe she's not keen on seeing a doc or a sex therapist. And it could be that she might have the possibility of having a physical problem where sex is uncomfortable for her -- and she never saw a doc about it. 

     

  • wouldn't it be better to stay single?

    A sexless relationship looks good on the surface but underneath u r seething,fighting with ur desires,needs and feeling cheated.

    Your partner might go along with u because he loves u but  are u wanting to put yourself in his place of torture for wanting u and u r not there.

    Remember u can't fight mother nature. U have been given a gift of sharing your love with sex mixed in with a person who loves u. If u don't use it u will lose it.Don't cheat yourself  enjoy that gift.

  • It's only a problem if the two people in the relationship are not on the same page with regards to the sexual aspect of their relationship.  

    Same can be said for pretty much everybody - with regards to frequency OR infrequency. 

    If she's happy, and her husband is happy, with whatever goes on (or not) in their bedroom, who cares?  As long as they're honest with each other and their emotions, who are we to judge?  Know what I mean? 

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  • We are adults here. You really can take the time to type the two extra letters in "you".

    image sideobserver:

    wouldn't it be better to stay single?

    A sexless relationship looks good on the surface but underneath u r seething,fighting with ur desires,needs and feeling cheated.

    Your partner might go along with u because he loves u but  are u wanting to put yourself in his place of torture for wanting u and u r not there.

    Remember u can't fight mother nature. U have been given a gift of sharing your love with sex mixed in with a person who loves u. If u don't use it u will lose it.Don't cheat yourself  enjoy that gift.

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